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On Pruitt and the Investigation: A Clarification

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I may have minced words in my previous article, so I’d like to address it and clear the air

The many rumblings surrounding the state of the Tennessee football program and its head coach Jeremy Pruitt continue to circulate. Earlier in the week, I wrote a speculative article about how and why Pruitt would lose his position in the program, concluding that there are only two ways this ordeal plays out.

For my work, I inadvertently noticed that my article had been labeled “propaganda,” a misguided conclusion. Though I don’t generally read the comments, I was exposed to this one while I was scanning my article after it had gone live. There is an epistemological difference between a propagandist and me: Notably, the former relies on appealing to emotion, while I tend to prefer to attempt to craft arguments given what is known and make theorizations based on the facts at hand; in other words, my objective is to create an argument founded on justified belief, not simply opinion, and certainly not to gain adherents, as is the objective of propaganda.

Nonetheless, I acknowledge that my words sometimes elicit an emotional reaction from readers, a responsibility I don’t take lightly, nor do I take it for granted. However, instead of erroneously and inaptly referring to my work as “propaganda,” I would much prefer to have an open, honest, and respectful dialogue. As the Greek philosopher Marcus Aurelius said, “Choose not to be harmed – and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed – and you haven’t been.” I am unsure why I, a graduate English student, would induce such strong feelings of animosity or anger over a written examination of the possibilities facing the football program.

With all that said, I’m fallible and aware of my defects, certainly, so it may be the case that my argument was neither succinct nor sound; I will concede that perhaps I murkily explained my thesis and impetus for writing the article. To address the latter: This increasingly convoluted quandary faced within the program appears be headed only in one direction – down. But things must first get worse before they can get better, right? For the former, I would like to lay it out plainly:

If these investigations yield accusations or evidence of impropriety by Pruitt and/or a member(s) of his staff, then it seems likely he will either be fired or forced into a resignation. If, on the other hand, no illegitimacy is unearthed, the investigation has nevertheless proceeded for such an inordinate amount of time so as to give the program and its cohorts an inadequate runway to fill organizational holes and prepare for the beginning of the season, much less spring practice. In that scenario, the team’s performance will be so greatly affected, one would assume, that its win-loss totals will reflect something akin to this past season, thus resulting in the forced departure of Pruitt and many on his staff.

Furthermore, I wouldn’t speculate in such a manner if the program had shown signs of improvement last season; instead, they gave us nothing to grow on and much to long for. Finally, unlike the propagandist, I am willing to entertain varying points of view and, in fact, am willing to change my perception of the situation – if, and only if, the argument is concise and cogent.